Oakville girls cross country tries to put best foot forward without a full team


New Oakville girls cross country head coach Kelsey Tunze started a running program at Cliff Cave County Park, and has 10 girls on the team this year.

For the Call

Oakville High School girls cross country has a new head coach this season in Kelsey Tunze.

“It feels great,” Tunze said of her first year as head coach.

“I’m honored to have the position and to work with these girls.”

Tunze, who graduated from Orchard Farm High School, inherited a program that had one sectional qualifier who finished 16th last season, senior Mackenzie Montandon.

“I hope she can make it to state this season, she was close last year,” Tunze said.

Tunze’s first act as head coach was to start a summer running program at Cliff Cave Park.

“We’ve had 10 girls out for the team this year,” Tunze said. “We won’t have a full varsity, maybe four. We’re starting a week later this year. That means a week of extra training.”

Back this season is senior Briana McGhee, juniors Claire Durr, Brenna Breitenstein and Aurora Baker, and sophomores Olivia Witte and Alexis Francisco.

Tunze estimates the distance between Montandon to the fifth finisher will be a span of two minutes this season.

“We have a great group of girls this season as far as who they are as people,” Tunze said.

“We have two new freshmen who are going to run varsity. I’d like to see our team come out each day and give it the best they have.”

The team kicks off its season with the Fort Zumalt West Twilight Invitational at the Pheasant Run Golf Course in O’Fallon on Saturday, Sept. 7.

The Twilight Invitational is unique in that it is the only night meet held in the St. Louis area.

The second meet of the season will be the Northwest Stan Nelson Invitational, held Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Northwest Early Childhood Center.